Transition Timeline

The following is a list of possible transition activities to consider when preparing transition plans with the student’s IEP team. Each student’s skills and interests will determine relevant items on the checklist. Use this to decide which transition issues to address at IEP meetings. Responsibility for carrying out specific transition activities should be determined at the IEP meeting.

How to use this timeline:

This timeline is intended to be a guide for students and their IEP teams as they develop transition goals. It is not an exhaustive list, nor will all items apply to all students. Transition is not a stand-alone content area and many of the activities on this list can be incorporated into content-area classes and activities.

Four to five years before leaving school

  • Identify personal learning styles and the necessary accommodations to be a successful learner and worker.
  • Identify career interests and skills, complete interest and career inventories, and identify additional education or training requirements.
  • Explore options for postsecondary education and admission criteria.
  • Identify interests and options for future living arrangements, including support services.
  • Learn to communicate effectively your interests, preferences, and needs.
  • Be able to explain your disability and the accommodations you need.
  • Learn and practice informed decision making skills.
  • Investigate assistive technology tools that can increase community involvement and employment opportunities.
  • Broaden your experiences with community activities and expand your friendships.
  • Pursue and use local transportation options outside of family.
  • Investigate money management and identify necessary skills.
  • Acquire identification card and the ability to communicate personal information.
  • Identify and begin learning skills necessary for independent living.
  • Learn and practice personal health care.
  • Attend and be involved in IEP meetings with parents, teachers and special education personnel.

Two to three years before leaving school

  • Identify community support services and programs (Vocational Rehabilitation, County Services, Centers for Independent Living, etc.)
  • Invite adult service providers, peers, and others to the IEP transition meeting.
  • Match career interests and skills with vocational course work and community work experiences.
  • Gather more information on post secondary programs and the support services offered
  • Make arrangements for accommodations to take college entrance exams (ACT, SAT, and Accuplacer). Many accommodation requests need to be made at least 2 months in advance.
  • Learn more about the differences between accommodations in college and high school.
  • Identify health care providers and become informed about individual health issues.
  • Begin to take responsibility for health care needs, making appointments, filling and taking prescriptions, requesting interpreters, etc.
  • Determine the need for financial support (Supplemental Security Income, state financial supplemental programs, Medicare).
  • Learn and practice appropriate interpersonal, communication, and social skills for different settings (employment, school, recreation, with peers, etc.).
  • Explore legal status with regards to decision making prior to age of majority (age 18 for Minnesota).
  • Get involved with a variety of community-based work experiences, summer employment, internships, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Begin a resume and update as needed.
  • Continue attending IEP meetings and become more involved in the decisions made.
  • Practice independent living skills, e.g., budgeting, shopping, cooking, and housekeeping.

One year before leaving school

  • Connect with support programs and services if needed. (Supplemental Security Income, Independent Living Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, county case management, counseling, etc.).
  • Identify the postsecondary school you plan to attend and arrange for accommodations.
  • Practice effective communication by developing interview skills, asking for help, and identifying necessary accommodations for postsecondary, work, and community environments.
  • Specify desired job and obtain paid employment with supports as needed.
  • Take responsibility for arriving on time to school, work, appointments, and social activities.
  • Register to vote and for selective service (if a male).
  • Lead your IEP meeting by stating your plans for the future, asking for support where needed and taking a lead in the decision making.
  • Explore legal status about decision-making prior to the age of majority.
  • Investigate/consider guardianship, power of attorney, conservatorship, etc.
  • Begin to utilize academic accommodations that are more in line with what is used in college.
  • Consider possible living situations (family, independent, supported living agencies)
  • Create a file for important documents and papers (see page 13: Records to Keep)

Adapted from the National Transition Network’s Transition Checklist. The National Transition Network is a collaboration of the Colorado State University; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Minnesota; PACER Center; and the University of Vermont. The National Transition Network (NTN) was funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs until September 30, 2001. Its offices were located at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.